(NEW YORK) — An increasing number of state inmates are serving their prison terms and being released without any supervision, according to a new report.
The study from Pew Charitable Trusts, released Wednesday, details that more than one in five state inmates are freed to their communities without parole or probation officers.
“There’s a broad consensus that public safety is best served when offenders have a period of supervision and services when they leave prison,” said Adam Gelb, director of Pew’s public safety performance project. “Yet the trend is toward releasing more and more inmates without any supervision or services whatsoever. Carving out a supervision period from the prison sentence can cut crime and corrections costs.”
The number of inmates who maxed out their sentences in prison grew 119 percent between 1990 and 2012. The rates vary, with fewer than 10 percent of prisoners released without supervision in states like Arkansas, California and Louisiana, while more than 40 percent were the same in Florida, New Jersey, and Utah, among others. In particular, non-violent offenders contributed to the boost.
At least eight states have adopted reforms to ensure the supervision of released inmates, and the Pew report includes recommendations for lawmakers.
“The prevailing philosophy used to be that we just turn inmates loose at the prison gate with nothing more than a bus ticket and the clothes on their back,” Gelb said. “Now, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are starting to realize that if you’re serious about public safety, you need more effective strategies.”
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